Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and a whole host of auto-immune conditions fall under the umbrella of invisible diseases. To the outside world, you look fine, but, on the inside, you know you aren’t. Without a positive test, there is no diagnosis and no treatment. It often takes decades of a population suffering before research begins.
Innovation in science matures through an existing knowledge base, not through a leap of faith.
“The Most Advanced. Yet Acceptable” (MAYA) principle is how new ideas become standard thought. This is the underlying reason why advances in medicine are slow. While there are doctors, researchers and patients publishing and posting theories and therapies, until those ideas reach MAYA, formal research is rarely done. These protocols, labeled alternative or experimental, are not considered standard of care and are not covered by insurance, even though they are often found by the sufferer to be effective.
The root causes of these invisible diseases can be difficult to find. The condition may be the result of a genetic anomaly, resulting in an underlying conversion or methylation issue. At the same time, a search for poison or pollution exposure, a bad reaction to a medication or a nutrient deficiency may also be considered. Several links have been found between these diseases and infectious agents; viral, bacterial, fungal and parasite. To complicate the matter, there is also the possibility that pathogens are opportunistic scavengers that feed on sick tissue, and, instead of being the cause of disease, they are only there to feed on the debris left by the real cause.
Once the potential cause of disease is identified, testing measures are developed to screen the afflicted. Not every person who tests positive will be sick, and not everyone who is sick will test positive. When a test produces the highest level of correct results, it becomes the gold standard, and treatments are identified, which insurance companies can be lobbied to cover. These solutions often are available as private pay services for those who can’t wait decades.
For more information on invisible illness from Dr. Amanda McNabb, visit charlestonhealth.org.
By Dr. Amanda McNabb, Charleston Health